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Dear Vicki: Now that summer is here, I would like to have a really great, classic pair of shorts. Please find me a pattern that looks like a million dollars. I would like to use linen or silk. – Mary F.

Dear Mary: Vogue 9008 is just what you are looking for. It has a classic, well-tailored style and an easy fit that will be beautiful year after year. Be sure to line the shorts; it helps to reduce wrinkles.

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Dear Vicki: I am planning to make a shirt and have a really beautiful piece of fabric. Please give me a few tips of things you teach your students to sharpen their sewing techniques. – Chloe S.

Dear Chloe: Shirting fabric is very unforgiving. Make a careful fitting muslin and have realistic standards of the fit (be sure you can move). When you are ready to cut, be mindful of the job and cut smoothly – no hacking or jagged lines. And be accurate – forget pattern weights; use pins, and lots of them, to hold your pattern to the fabric. Break down and mark your seams; don’t just sew somewhere near the seam allowance. Press each seam as you go three times (first on each side with the seams closed, and then open the seams and press along the stitching line to perfect it). Test your interfacing on scraps to be sure you like the weight and stability. Use new size 70 needles with microtex points in your machines, because it’s easy to make holes in shirting, and if you have to rip, you don’t want to have marks from a dull needle. I try to use only cotton thread for shirtings. If you plan to use a serger to finish the edges, use only the right needle in it so you have a fine three-thread serge.

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This week’s reader’s tip is from Fanni Birky, of Goshen, Ind.

“I am a hand quilter, and since I use lots of thread and am rethreading needles frequently, I thread several of my favorite quilting needles (using a needle threader) at one time on the same thread. Without cutting the thread, I stick the threaded needles into a firm pincushion. As I need a new needle, I simply pull the thread through all the threaded needles, and slip the already threaded needle away from the others.”